Unmarried "Couples"

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Salty, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. Salty

    Salty
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    I am starting this based on a thread that Alvin started elsewhere.

    Are there unmarried "couples" who are members of your church living together?

    If so- what action has been taken against them? Have they been removed from membership or at a minimum put on the inactive list? Do we say, "well there are kids so they need both parents". Do we look the other way?.

    How seriously do we take Matt 18?
     
  2. OldRegular

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    I don't personally know of any but I doubt it would do any good if it were known and brought before the church. Anything goes now days.

    In my opinion the "church" is no longer the "body of Jesus Christ" but a diverse group of people who salve their conscience by showing up occasionally. I don't doubt that each congregation has a solid core body of believers who keep the thing from falling apart.

    The congregation where my membership is placed is giving up on its "contemporary worship", whatever that is, and startibg in March a "modern worship", whatever that is!:confused::BangHead::tonofbricks::(
     
  3. annsni

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    There was a couple at church who we thought were married but it turns out they were not. The men were traveling somewhere and they were talking about how long they were married and this one man was silent until addressed - and he then admitted that even though they had a child together, they were never married. "When can we take care of that?" my husband asked him. The man was shocked. He wasn't thrown out but he was counseled to take care of the wrong. They were married 6 weeks later and the man took the counsel to move out until the wedding. It was a great time of restoration and example to how this sort of thing can be handled.

    I'm sure there are people who are not married but living together who attend our church. None attend our campus but the main campus is much larger and we have all kinds of people there. If it is known, they will be counseled to take the step to marry or move out and continue dating - from a distance. I can't think of any couples in particular who didn't follow through with one of these two steps so I'm not exactly sure what the end results would be if they chose not to but I can safely say that they would not be involved in any ministry.
     
  4. Salty

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    Wow!
    Just curious - did they both go by the same last name?

    Now I have an added questions for this OP? When an individual (or couple) join a church, should we ask when and where they were married?
     
  5. 12strings

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    We have had similar situations to what annsi described...When My pastor arrived 5 years ago, he fairly quickly convinced an older shacking couple to get married. Next year our associate pastor married 2 non-members who were living together, but they never ended up joining the church.

    There are none that I know of, but I do know it would be addressed, in a restorative manner, if the pastors knew about it...
     
  6. Old Union Brother

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    Old Regular said:


    We do not shy away from church discipline. We call it keeping good order.
     
    #6 Old Union Brother, Feb 5, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2013
  7. saturneptune

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    We have none in our church, but from observing other churches, they do exist, and nothing is usually done. We as Baptists pick and choose our sins. We certainly are sharply focused on sins involving alcohol and drugs. We also harp on dancing, gambling, and other vices. However, at the same time, we ignore gossip, gluttony, and as you suggest, members who live together without being married.

    What causes us to divide sins like this? It is hard to say. Maybe it is past practice, maybe the culture of the time, or maybe it is that a majority gossip, while a majority are not drunks. Either way, it is a two faced standard, totally contrary to Scripture.
     
  8. annsni

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    They actually did. LOL Realize that they were relatively new attendees to the church so we didn't know a ton about them. I've been learning in the last week that you really don't know a lot about a person even though they come to your church. I'm getting my counseling muscles worked out (which were VERY weak before we started this work anyway). LOL
     
  9. Zaac

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    We do, especially if they have the same name. A lot of times we get folks who don't have the same last name, but the address they give is the same.
     
  10. OldRegular

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    You folks are unique in more ways than one, and I for one am thankful to God you are!

    Years ago I saw a young man excluded from the Church where my Dad was a member. This young man had gotten drunk, broke some law, put in jail, broke out of jail, and in running from the law fell over a cliff and broke his leg. When he got out of the hospital a delegation was sent to ask him to appear before the Church and make amends. He refused to do so and was excluded. In my opinion he left the Church no choice!
     
  11. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Old School is the ticket brothers. :love2::thumbs:
     
  12. annsni

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    But why would he have to go before the whole church to "make amends"? This would be a case of the pastor going to speak to the man and seeing what was up. Deal with the issue of the alcohol and breaking the law. Honestly, if that were me and I had a "delegation" sent to me, I might respond in the same way. The goal is restoration, not punishment. In having the pastor go there, he might be able to actually help the young man. When it comes to the church finding out about what happened, it's simple for the pastor to say, "Trust me right now on this. He is not "getting away" with this but we are working with him in counseling. It didn't involve you so trust your leadership to deal with this in a Biblical way." I don't see how standing in front of everyone with a scarlet letter is the way to deal with it.

    Biblically, one man would go to him first. If there was no satisfaction, then go with two or more others. THEN the church is addressed.

    Right now, we are dealing with a couple of counseling situations that are heavy. Dragging the offenders to the pulpit for them to "make amends" is not dealing with the issue behind it and it does nothing to help restore the person to a walk with the Lord. Instead we are actually addressing the offense, dealing with the causes of the offense and working in counseling/discipleship to get these people back to where they should be.
     
  13. preachinjesus

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    Well we always check on marital status and then addresses in the membership process. While we will not disfellowship or refuse ministry to couples cohabitating we will not allow them to finalize the covenant membership process.

    Well, I guess we have to reconcile the two questions: who are our churches for? and what is the place of sinners in the assembly?

    We, as a church, have taken the position that couples cohabitating are absolutely welcome to be part of our church. We want them to attend services. We want them to have their lives changed. We want them to live in purity...apart from each other for a season. Here's the thing about people "living in sin" they don't get better if we isolate ourselves from them or them from us and point fingers at them.

    Again, we have a pretty thorough covenant membership process where we consider carefully members for our church. When (notice its not an "if") find a couple who is cohabitating we sit down with them and talk about our standards for life, show them where those standards are in the Bible, and ask them to prayerfully consider moving out for a season before they are married. We make tons of options available to them. We've even put up guys in an extended stay hotel for up to three months to help them along.

    The facts are simple: if you're between 22 - 35 in the US you're more likely to not be married than married; in that demographic 75% of couples living together before marriage (churched and unchurched); 90% have had or are having a relationship where they are sexually intimate; in this age demographic the number of unmarried new moms is at 55% last year.

    The entire culture isn't shifting anymore...it has shifted.

    If your church is doing the kind of ministry that attracts people far from Christ who want to be near to Christ we have to realize that cohabitation is an accepted practiced for the vast majority of Americans.

    How are you going to change your ministry model to minister to that change?

    As we try to minister to these people, we begin in grace and show them love while maintaining the standard of purity set before us. Most people coming into your church who are under the age of 40 have a completely different understanding of sexuality than those over 40.

    Our hope is that by being authentic and loving these couples they will, as some have, embrace a better day and a better way. We can't bury our heads in the sand. We lovingly confront those who are sin in private, then with a minister. We gently correct and teach righteousness. And by doing, show the love and grace of Christ. :)
     
  14. annsni

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    Amen!! It's hard because we can take the complete legalistic route - and most likely not have hearts and lives changed. But we will be standing on the truth, darn it!! Or we can be like Jesus, show grace, speak the truth in love and challenge people to get their lives to change by the power of the Gospel. :)
     
  15. OldRegular

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    This man brought reproach, disgrace on the Church, the Body of Jesus Christ. His behavior was public knowledge. There was no need for a single man to go to the offender. A delegation was very appropriate and is certainly consistent with the instructions of Jesus Christ in Matthew 18. The man refused to appear before the Church to make amends and ask for forgiveness. The Church was left with no choice.

    It is not possible to deal with a church member living in sin until he admits his sin. You are using the same illogic that Zaac has used to defend the lifestyle of homosexuals.
     
  16. annsni

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    How is a delegation consistent with Matthew 18? I do not see that.

    I agree that it is not possible to deal with a member living in sin until he admits his sin. But forcing him to go in front of the church will not facilitate that admission.
     
  17. OldRegular

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    In 1 Corinthians 5 the Apostle Paul deals with the case of a "believer and Church member" living in fornication with his fathers wife. This case is perhaps more egregious that simply living in fornication or adultery since the man was technically guilty of incest. The Apostle Paul's instructions to the Church is clear. In fact it seems that he appropriately describes the attitude of some on this Forum regarding the grievous sin of fornication and adultery.

    In fact it seems that he appropriately describes the attitude of some on this Forum regarding the grievous sin of fornication and adultery because Paul says of the Church:
    or proud.

    It seems to me that some on this Forum, PJ and Ann, are taking the same attitude of those in the Church at Corinth and are proud of their approach. But that attitude is not acceptable to Paul because he tells us:

     
  18. OldRegular

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    It seems to me that you people are being deliberately obtuse. Perhaps it is because you feel a sense of superiority over those called Old Regular Baptists. I don't know. Your discussion of this man's behavior and discipline is certainly different than your discussion of homosexuality with Zaac. If indeed you have a sense of superiority over those Old Regular Baptists you are of all people to be pitied.

    You ask:
    I invite you to read Matthew 18:16:
    Just how many does it take to make a delegation?

    Then you say:
    I call your attention to Matthew 18:17:
    Now please tell those of us on this thread who are confused by your attitude just how the exclusion of this man deviated from the instructions of Jesus Christ.

    Following is my initial post that you people don't like.

    Frankly I think anyone who could get as exercised as some of you have over this incident is pathetically hypocritical! or perhaps I should say arrogant and self righteous
     
  19. righteousdude2

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    Simply Put....

    ....if fornicators want to infiltrate the church [and I'm sure they have, and will continue to do so], then lie, or at least give the impression [to those who fellowship and worship next to them] that they are, in fact, married; I think that their sins against God [and the churches] are mounting with each deceptive/fornicating action they commit.

    This is truly disgusting, but most of the time; we will be deceived. In fact, how many churches [actually want to admit that they have been fooled, and badly at times?] have been misled by members who claim to have been born-again, and baptised, while in fact that is not anywhere near the truth?

    Is the sin of this thread any worse than those who lie about their salvation and are accepted into membership and fellowship with the church?

    Can you say, "Ananias and Sapphira?" think in these cases; God will always be the final judge and jury, and the verdict and punishment will be passed unto those accordingly.

    In other words, we do our best to screen those who enter the flock. We do our best to view and taste the fruit of their spirit. However, in the end, any deception will be laid at the deceivers doorstep. All we can do is our best job in discerning spirits and fruit. What happens beyond that is out-of-our-hands.
    Many people are being deceived today, and in turn children are molested; people are murdered; and things are stolen. I don't think we have an exact, full proof way to check everyone out, unless we employ a private investigation service and put all our members through the ringer before we accept them into the flock!
     
  20. annsni

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    No, I'm not "proud" of our approach nor puffed up but instead am following the Word of God for the goal of restoration.

    As for 1 Corinthians 5? Yes - It must be dealt with absolutely but can you show me where the man was to be brought before the church to make amends?
     

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